Places and Spaces: Kitchener's park and open space strategy

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In Kitchener, we know parks aren’t just important – they’re essential. Parks are more than the sum of their parts. They are extensions of the communities they are placed in and contribute significantly to the community’s identity and individuals’ connections within it. Whether you use parks to gather, unwind, exercise, socialize, play, or celebrate, we want to hear from you. Let us know what a great park means to you!

Places and Spaces is an update to the existing Parks Strategic Plan adopted by City Council in 2010. It is the recasting of the parks plan to better reflect current demands of park space. It will re-evaluate all aspects of parks delivery in Kitchener down to the fundamental level - what makes a quality park in Kitchener?

The purpose of this strategy is to:

  1. Re-affirm Kitchener’s vision and commitment to building and maintaining public parks
  2. Provide multiple guiding principles and policy themes to inform future park development
  3. Modernize the process of park acquisitions


There are two core focuses for this strategy:

Places: the vision of parks in Kitchener. Places focuses on the quality of our parks for placemaking and creating diverse and functional spaces. Places will explore a wide range of themes, including principles of design (equity, accessibility), environmental (habitat, stormwater and climate change), and specific infrastructure planning (playgrounds, sportsfields, dog parks).

Spaces: explores the quantity of parks in Kitchener, and parks context within the City. It will detail Kitchener’s current inventory, look at the definitions of park space, determine the amount of park space we need and where, and provide or update the tools in which we acquire those spaces.

Please read the Foundations document, which outlines the Parks Strategic Plan update process, its structure and guiding principles.

We want to hear from you!

Over the next 18 months, we are engaging residents to better understand how parks are used, what barriers exist to using parks, and what you value most about parks. Guiding documents, created with the data collected from these engagements, will help shape more inclusive and all-welcoming Kitchener parks.

Subscribe to this page using the button at the top right corner to get updates on how you can take part!


In Kitchener, we know parks aren’t just important – they’re essential. Parks are more than the sum of their parts. They are extensions of the communities they are placed in and contribute significantly to the community’s identity and individuals’ connections within it. Whether you use parks to gather, unwind, exercise, socialize, play, or celebrate, we want to hear from you. Let us know what a great park means to you!

Places and Spaces is an update to the existing Parks Strategic Plan adopted by City Council in 2010. It is the recasting of the parks plan to better reflect current demands of park space. It will re-evaluate all aspects of parks delivery in Kitchener down to the fundamental level - what makes a quality park in Kitchener?

The purpose of this strategy is to:

  1. Re-affirm Kitchener’s vision and commitment to building and maintaining public parks
  2. Provide multiple guiding principles and policy themes to inform future park development
  3. Modernize the process of park acquisitions


There are two core focuses for this strategy:

Places: the vision of parks in Kitchener. Places focuses on the quality of our parks for placemaking and creating diverse and functional spaces. Places will explore a wide range of themes, including principles of design (equity, accessibility), environmental (habitat, stormwater and climate change), and specific infrastructure planning (playgrounds, sportsfields, dog parks).

Spaces: explores the quantity of parks in Kitchener, and parks context within the City. It will detail Kitchener’s current inventory, look at the definitions of park space, determine the amount of park space we need and where, and provide or update the tools in which we acquire those spaces.

Please read the Foundations document, which outlines the Parks Strategic Plan update process, its structure and guiding principles.

We want to hear from you!

Over the next 18 months, we are engaging residents to better understand how parks are used, what barriers exist to using parks, and what you value most about parks. Guiding documents, created with the data collected from these engagements, will help shape more inclusive and all-welcoming Kitchener parks.

Subscribe to this page using the button at the top right corner to get updates on how you can take part!


Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about Places and Spaces? Please ask them here. We usually post answers within 3 business days.

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    Why are there tents occupying public space in Victoria Park? They create Avery u could.fortable and likely unhealthy interference of the public's use.

    John Nottawa asked 14 days ago

    The City recognizes the current housing crisis affecting its’ most vulnerable population. Addressing homelessness requires an all-of-community approach that includes community, local municipal, regional, provincial and federal partners – and the City of Kitchener is committed to continuing to play our part in finding solutions.   Until there are sufficient alternatives for those using Victoria Park island as refuge, the City will continue to provide support for the unhoused while balancing the enforcement of parks by-laws under a human-centered approach. The island remains open for public use, with alternative routes available to access to all of the parks amenities.

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    How will the City engage better with the neighbours of city parks and spaces? Can there be signage about use of the area? We are left with the garbage and we have noise constantly. We need help to monitor these spaces. I have a neighbour who routinely cleans up the park in our area. He should get a rebate on his taxes LOL. The gatherings of young people and their cars and their noise are certainly intimidating and deters others from useing/walking in the spaces.

    Kit asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for your question! We’re making every effort to connect with as many people as possible for park projects, using the tools we have available – in-park signage, letters, social media, connection to neighbourhood associations and community groups among them. Parks representatives can always be reached through the city’s contact centre at 519-741-2345. Please feel free to use this number 24/7 to report any concerns, and, if required, Security staff can attend the site and work with police if needed. 

    Garbage is collected regularly across the city though may be required more frequently in specific parks. Contacting us through the call centre will help us understand where the higher frequency is needed. Please connect with Niall Lobley (Niall.Lobley@kitchener.ca) if you wish to tell us more about it. 

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    Why did you cut down all the trees on the walking path in Wilson Park?

    Brayden asked 8 months ago

    First and foremost we appreciate your concern. I would immediately direct you to the project page linked below.

    Tree removals are always difficult decisions to make. Removals here are part of the creek stabilization efforts, which means widening and meandering the creek. This will improve water quality, increase resiliency to storm events that cause flooding, and create in-water habitat. Every effort was made to save as much canopy as possible.

    Trees that were cut will be re-used in the creation of in-water habitat and bank protections. New tree plantings are planned to replace felled trees, along with park improvements to include a quiet seating area along the creek edge. Construction is expected to begin in mid-May and completed by October.

    https://www.engagewr.ca/montgomerycreek

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    In one breath green space is being taken away for housing and now you want information regarding parks. Why was not the former Notre Dame school left with more green space. We lost baseball fields, play structures and tennis courts. Nothing in close walking distance in our neighbourhood anymore.

    Crafty asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for the question and comment. School grounds are important open spaces and used by communities, but they are not parks and the City does not control their long term use as open space. As such these are valuable, but provide greenspace over and above a minimum provision of municipal public park space. 

    The City does have control over park land through redevelopment, and associated to this development is the construction of a public park, albeit significant smaller than the previous school grounds were, at the front of Rosemount Dr. A second small park is located at Frederick and Avon road and a third at Shantz Park at River and Manchester. 

    Your feedback is much appreciated as we are keen to understand how close should a park be to community, how do neighbourhoods use school grounds through the year, supporting new parks vs. re-investing in existing, among many others. 

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    It is mentioned below that "bonusing" for, let's say, extra green space, has been replaced by "Community Benefits Charges". Below you said: "In order to being applying CBC's, all municipalities must first write and pass an associated by-law. " What does this mean to pass an associated by-law? Thanks in advance for your clarification.

    W squared asked 11 months ago

    In clearer terms it means the city needs to create a new by-law specific to the use of CBC's, and "pass" as in the by-law requires Council approval. If it is approved by Council the by-law is then open for public appeals, after which time the by-law is enacted and can be applied to new development applications. 

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    I’ve lived on DAVID Street 10 years I never see police patrolling the park why we have a lot of crime down here

    Grenier asked 12 months ago

    Answered in previous question as one response

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    If we had more police patrolling the park we would be able to completely decorate the bridges for Chris

    Grenier asked 12 months ago

    Answered in previous question as one response

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    We are not putting up Christmas lights this year on the bridges Because of excessive vandalism

    Grenier asked 12 months ago

    Thank you for your questions. Decisions on how to decorate Victoria Park are made on a year on year basis. Staff are not aware that decisions to not place lights in certain areas is as a result of vandalism concerns. Victoria Park, as with other parks, are supported by both Waterloo Regional Police and City Security staff; both of which are in Victoria Park on multiple occasions daily. Please feel free to connect directly with Niall Lobley, at niall.lobley@kitchener.ca if you have any further questions or follow up.

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    Has the city considered utilizing above-zoning density and intensifying developments to raise funds or otherwise return more downtown land towards park areas and/or trails for active transport? It seems a natural benefit to developers increasing density would be to find a way to return more land not needed to meet intensification targets towards the public realm and accessible green space.

    zyoung asked 12 months ago

    The City did employ density bonusing policies under Section 37 of the Planning Act. Recent changes to the Act however have removed these policies in favour of a single consolidated framework called Community Benefits Charges (CBC). In principle they are similar, however applied very differently. Whereas bonusing allowed developments to choose which features to provide in exchange for added heights/densities beyond zoning restrictions, CBC's are applied as a single 4% of land area application, yielding a cash value that the City can use for a wide range of facilities - parks, trails, active transportation as you mention among them.

    In order to being applying CBC's, all municipalities must first write and pass an associated by-law. The City will be engaging Council in Q1 or Q2 of 2022 to discuss the application of CBC's here in Kitchener.

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    The gate at Kiwanis Park is shut and locked, which allows park users access only to a small parking lot at the entrance. Why are we prevented from driving to one of the parking areas closer to the amenities further in - the canoe launch, the dog park, the children's park? Many who use the park for necessary socialization and crucial off-leash exercise for our dogs have to travel a considerable distance to find there are no others at the park, deterred by the lack of parking access and further deterred by the practise of ticketing those who park on the street close to the entrance when the small parking lot is filled. That is a huge park to be rendered inaccessible except to those privileged few who live in the immediate pedestrian area.

    Angela Hammar asked about 1 year ago

    Kiwanis Park remains open for use throughout the year, as does the leash free dog park. During winter, as there is no surfaced parking available in the lower area of Kiwanis, the gates are closed. This does mean a longer walk for owners and pets between car and off leash areas than in summer. Parking in the summer is available in a gravel parking lot and on the grass near the pool; neither of these areas are able to be used and maintained in the winter. Winter maintenance requires the use of salt, and so near to the Grand River, this cannot be applied. The access roads to the lower parking areas are maintained on a lower frequency during the winter to maintain essential access to facilities only. Please feel free to connect with Niall Lobley (niall.lobley@kitchener.ca) if you would like to discuss this one further.

Page last updated: 02 Nov 2022, 05:34 PM